Hartford Mayor, Board of Education Square Off in Battle for Budget Bucks - NBC Connecticut

Hartford Mayor, Board of Education Square Off in Battle for Budget Bucks

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Hartford Mayor, Board of Education Square Off in Battle for Budget Bucks

    Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and the city board of education are at odds over $1 million, and the city council has called in another agency to investigate.

    Segarra wants to take $17 million from a board of education "reserve fund" to balance the city's $530 million dollar budget.

    The $17 million would comprise more than $3 million this year and $13 million next year. Now the city council is asking Hartford's Internal Audit Department to look under the hood.

    The board of education funds Segarra is looking to tap come from a fund designed to cover health care and other benefits for retired employees and spouses.

    Now there's a question over whether the board even had the right to set up this fund, and the Internal Audit Department has agreed to weigh in.

    "The amount of money in dispute is immense, and you have a dispute amongst two city hall entities," said Independent Audit Commission Chairman Bruce Rubenstein.

    A complicating factor: some of the board of education's reserve money may have come from the state and federal government, and may have strings attached that would forbid it from being moved.

    The mayor’s office released a statement late Wednesday saying, "We encourage openness and welcome anyone who wants to look into this matter to do so. However, we would prefer an unbiased and objective opinion. Our position is that the Board of Education does not have the authority to maintain a fund balance, which it has done for several years, or retain outside counsel without authorization from City Council."

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